City of Laurel honored by MS Urban Forest Council

LAUREL, Miss. - This is a press release from the city of Laurel.

The City of Laurel was awarded the Tree City USA certification for 2016 by the Mississippi Urban Forest Council at the recent City Council Meeting. Laurel is one of the cities in the state qualifying for the recognition. This is the 33rd consecutive year that Laurel has received the title and recognized statewide for its outstanding work in urban forestry by the Mississippi Forestry Commission and the Mississippi Urban Forest Council. This distinction is especially important, as Laurel is the oldest Tree City in the State of Mississippi.

Tree City USA is awarded to those sites that fulfill four requirements. These include: a tree board, a tree ordinance, an urban forest management program supported by a minimum budget of $2 per capita and an observance and proclamation of Arbor Day.

The Tree City USA program, sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation in cooperation with the USDA Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters, provides direction, technical assistance, public attention and national recognition for urban and community forestry programs in thousands of towns and cities that more than 135 million Americans call home.

Trees yield 3–5 times their cost in overall benefits to the city in a number of ways: reducing costs for energy, stormwater management, and erosion control. Trees yield 3–5 times their cost in overall benefits to the city. Studies indicate that as few as three additional trees planted around each building cut energy costs by 25%. Not to mention, properly placed trees can increase property values from 7–20%. Trees and green spaces directly correlate to greater connections to neighbors and builds community that honors and demonstrates commitment to a healthier environment through Arbor Day celebrations and Tree City USA recognition.

Participation in the Tree City USA program helps residents feel good about the place they live and work. Annual recognition shows visitors and prospective residents that trees, conservation, and the environment are important to your community.

"We recognize only one city out of the state each year for the scenic award. It's for communities that work hard to maintain its trees and natural resources," said Donna Yowell, executive director of Mississippi Urban Forest Council.” The City of Laurel was nominated by Walt Grayson to receive the 2016 Scenic Community of Mississippi.

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